I have found that meatballs are a very personal and potentially, a very touchy subject, in some circles. Mostly by anyone who cooks! Everyone believes that their “ball game” is tight, and theirs are the best. I am no exception to this. I have found that recently I have upped my game, by adding fresh homemade ricotta to my meatballs Homemade Italian Style Ricotta Cheese.
I usually soak my stale bread in milk, but recently I had leftover ricotta and decided to add this instead and I am in LOVE!! There is one caveat, you have to find the sweet spot or you will run the risk of making your meatballs too soft, yes there is such a thing, they will fall apart in your gravy and you will not have solid meatballs to serve. I add about a 1/3 to 1/2 cup and no more. With the egg as a binder you don’t need to make this any wetter.
These Italian Ricotta Meatballs, are by far a superior tasting experience and I was lucky enough to have eaten the best meatballs ever when my Italian grandmother was alive. She came to this country when she was a little girl, and she made the most amazing meatballs ever. I have tried to replicate hers through the years and I am barely in the same realm. But I do think she would have loved mine if she had a chance to eat with me in my kitchen!
I hope you give these a try, these Italian Ricotta Meatballs, are really so stinkin‘ good!
Combine the stale bread, breaking it up in pieces, add the ricotta cheese, and all other ingredients. Mixing well to combine. I love using my hands when I cook especially for meatballs as I have such fond memories making them with my grandma and my Dad.
You can make these any size you want even using a cookie scoop to make them uniformly, I prefer to wing it and just roll, I am Crazy like that!! I got about 17 decent size ones. Make sure to use EVOO on your baking sheet, I like to take the oil on my hands once I have rolled all the meatballs and roll the balls in oiled hands, before placing them on the baking sheet, just a teeny bit, we are not looking to drench them in oil and change the taste. Having EVOO on them does make them nicely browned. Bake for about 25 minutes until cooked through. I like to simmer mine in gravy for another half hour to meld flavors.
This is for pictures only, because I love to cover my meatballs in grated cheese. Know that!!
That is not nearly enough, I also grate my cheese much finer, but again it just photographs better like this!! xoxo
Italian Ricotta Meatballs
A sophisticaticated take on an Italian favorite, that's super moist, so full of flavor, and just might be the perfect meatball!
- Fresh ricotta is perfect in these but if you use a commercial brand, drain it in a colander for about an hour in the fridge to get the moisture out, also whole milk ricotta is recommended for these.
- 1/2 cup of fresh or store-bought whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/2 lbs. of ground pork
- 1 lb. of ground round
- 1/3 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese
- 3 slices of stale white or Italian bread crushed into pieces (you can add 2 slices and 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs if you prefer, I don’t add them I like the stale bread better and they stay moister)
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 egg slightly beaten
- 1 tsp. of dried basil
- 1 tbsp. of chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Homemade marinara or store-bought
- Any variety of pasta or rolls for “meatball parm sammies”
- Preheat oven to 385°
- In a large bowl, break apart stale bread, add breadcrumbs, ricotta cheese Pecorino Romano cheese, herbs, garlic, egg, salt and pepper, mix well to combine. Form into balls and place on greased baking sheet, making sure to coat the meatballs with a light coating of EVOO.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until cooked through.
- Add to simmering pot of your favorite gravy (marinara sauce). Simmer for 30 minutes and serve with any pasta you desire or as the perfect “meatball parm sammie!” Mangia!